The ASAP Dictionary of Anxiety and Panic Disorders

Bacchus - see Dionysus.

Bach Rescue Remedy - an alternative medicine derived from wild flowers. Some people report mild and temporary relief from stress and anxiety. This remedy was invented by noted homeopath Dr. Edward Bach and is considered safe to use and non habit-forming.

Background Stressor - any environmental stimuli (sound, light, etc.) that causes stress and is beyond an individual's control. Also see stressor.

Bacteriophobia - a phobia of bacteria.

Bad Dream - an unpleasant dream, sometimes formally characterized as an unpleasant dream that does not cause the dreamer to awake. Contrast with nightmare and sleep terror.

Barbiturate - a group of sedatives and hypnotics derived from barbituric acid. These were the drug treatment of choice for anxiety disorders prior to the arrival of the benzodiazepines.

Bashful Bladder - see paruresis.

Basilar Artery - an artery that supplies blood to the brain. Spasms of the basilar artery can reduce blood flow, and thus oxygen, to the brain which can result in suffocation alarm and anxiety attacks.

Baskerville Effect - see psychophysiological death. Term inspired by the Sherlock Holmes story "Hound of the Baskervilles" in which a character is frightened to death.

Battle Fatigue - an alternate name for post traumatic stress disorder dating from WWII.

Battle Shock - psychiatric breakdown on the battle field typically due to exogenous stress. Battle shock can be clinically described as acute (often called combat shock) or gradual (often called combat fatigue) depending on the speed with which symptoms manifest themselves. Also see acute combat stress reaction, acute stress disorder, post traumatic stress disorder.

BDZ - see benzodiazepine.

Behavior - the physical actions of an individual or group. Adj. Behavioral.

Behavioral Therapy (BT) - a psychotherapy to overcome anxiety through techniques such as exposure therapy or relaxation. Also see aversion therapy, biofeedback, cognitive behavioral therapy, homework, operant conditioning.

Bellona - see Enyo.

Benzo - a commonly used abbreviation for benzodiazepine.

Benzodiazepine (BDZ) - a group of medications that reduce nerve cell electrical activity by augmenting the effect of GABA, but are also known to act as CCK antagonists. Like most psychiatric medications, benzodiazepines are best started slowly with ramped dosage and discontinued slowly by tapering dosage. Chlordiazepoxide was the first benzodiazepine medication, introduced in 1960. However, alprazolam (introduced in 1980) was the first benzodiazepine to prove effective in the treatment of panic disorder, and remains one of the most effective anxiolytics for episodic panic attacks. The benzodiazepines have a far more favorable ratio between anxiolytic action and sedative effects than the barbiturates, a greater therapeutic index, and less risk for addiction when used properly. The benzodiazepine medications include (generic names) alprazolam, benzodiazepam, bromazepam, chlordiazepoxide, clobazam, clonazepam, clorazepate, diazepam, estazolam, flunitrazepam, flurazepam, lorazepam, nitrazepam, oxazepam, quazepam, temazepam, triazolam. CAUTION: Excessive use of BDZ medications can result in addiction or aggravation of an anxiety disorder. The main symptom of excessive BDZ dosage is drowsiness. BDZ medications should only be used to make anxiety or panic tolerable, not eliminate anxiety entirely. Also see grapefruit.

Beta Blocker - a medication that treats physical symptoms such as blood pressure and heart palpitations. Since such symptoms are common with anxiety disorders, some anxiety sufferers benefit from treatment with beta blockers. However, it should be noted that beta blockers may cause problems during strenuous exercise.

BID - two times a day. Prescription direction based on the Latin phrase "bis in die." Also see dose.

Biofeedback - a behavioral therapy technique for controlling physiologic responses through heightened awareness and practice. The conceptual base for biofeedback involves the idea that some physiological parameter can be transformed into an electrical signal. This signal can then be 'fed back' to the patient (as visual or sound cues) which can be used to better understand and control physiological functioning.

Biogenic - generated by a biological process.

Biosynthesis - production of a chemical compound by living cells. Also see tryptophan, tyrosine.

Bipolar Disorder (BPD) - a form of manic depression that involves dramatic mood swings in to and out of depression; i.e., exaggerated highs and lows.

Blanch - an involuntary whitening of the skin or other tissues caused by decreased blood flow. During intense anxiety or fear, a noticeable blanching of the skin (turning white or pale with fear) may sometimes occur. Such blanching is caused by excessive levels of stress or anxiety related hormones which act as a vasoconstrictor. Also see Raynaud's syndrome. Contrast with blush.

Blue Green Algae - see algae.

Blush - an involuntary reddening of the face caused by vasodilation; specifically, increased blood flow to the skin which is often associated with embarrassment. Regarding anxiety disorders, excessive blushing is often related to social anxiety. Contrast with blanch.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder - a somatoform disorder characterized by excessive concern regarding body appearance that causes pronounced distress or social anxiety.

Bogus Therapy - any therapy that is no more effective than a placebo, but is presented and practiced as something more substantial. In the kindest sense, bogus therapies are promoted by naive individuals. In the worst sense, bogus therapies are promoted by unethical and/or sociopathic individuals who prey on people's misconceptions and desperation for personal profit. Related products or services are often advertised with grossly exaggerated claims and/or blatant lies.

Brain - an organ that processes sensory stimuli, cognitive functions and associations (conscience and unconscience); a major portion of the central nervous system. Major structures of the brain include the cerebrum, limbic system, thalamus and brain stem.

Brain Stem - an inner brain structure that regulates heartbeat, breathing, blood pressure, digestion, and reflex actions such as swallowing or vomiting.

Brain Zap - a sensation resembling an electrical jolt passing through the body, a second or less in duration. Sometimes such episodes might briefly interfere with muscle control. Brain zaps may sometimes be associated with withdrawal from serotonin related antidepressant medications, including paroxetine (Paxil) and venlafaxine (Effexor), and may last for a few months after discontinuation of such medication. Also see dysesthesia, paresthesia.

Brand Name - an arbitrary name given to a medication for purely commercial or legal reasons. A specific medication may have many brand names, but will have only one generic name. For example, the medication diazepam (generic name) has more than 100 brand names (including the brand name "Valium").

Bravery - see courage.

Breathing Exercise - to breath in a deliberate and controlled manner to help induce a desired physical or psychological state. One such exercise is to breath in a calm manner to reduce stress or anxiety as a relaxation technique. Another exercise employs hyperventilation to increase anxiety as a form of exposure therapy.

Brontophobia - a phobia of thunder.

BT - see behavioral therapy.

The ASAP Dictionary of Anxiety and Panic Disorders